When I first started travelling, all I needed was a guidebook to get by, but as technology keeps changing, I find myself relying on my smartphone more than anything else. Social media, apps, and maps are part of my daily life, and it’s no different when I travel. That of course presents a bit of a problem; how do I avoid roaming charges?
Obviously I could just keep my roaming data off, but being connected has its benefits. With Google maps, getting lost is never an issue, and Yelp ensures a good meal every time, but those require a data connection and that costs money– a lot of money if you’re not careful.
Telecom companies have responded to consumer demands (or government pressure, depending how you look at it) by introducing new roaming packages. These prices are reasonable, but for Canadian travellers, the voice and data packages are only available for the U.S. and Europe. If you’re headed to a country without an agreement with your home carrier, roaming charges can add up fast.
There’s got to be a better solution right? Yup! KnowRoaming, a Canadian tech company can help give your unlocked phone access to cheap voice and data plans in 200+ countries.
What is KnowRoaming?
Attach the KnowRoaming SIM sticker to your phone, install the app, and you’ll instantly have access to the following:
- No hidden charges – accounts are pre-loaded with credit
- Detailed breakdown of charges in real-time
- Your calls can be forwarded abroad
- Reduced long distance charges
- Defaults to callback, further reducing charges
For someone who travels and still wants to take calls on their home number, KnowRoaming is incredibly appealing. You’re able to forward your calls abroad and pay just the local airtime rates. You can even purchase a local number on your account so friends in the country you’re visiting can call you without being charged long distance fees.
One problem with many roaming plans is that you have no idea how much you’ve spent until you return home. With the KnowRoaming app, you can manage your services and monitor your account making it easy avoid roaming charges since you’ll know exactly how much you’re spending.
My experience in Japan
I recently visited Japan and KnowRoaming set me up with a SIM sticker along with some credit, I’m happy to report that I had a very positive experience. The SIM sticker is literally a sticker that attaches to your SIM card with relative ease. This can be any SIM, so it doesn’t have to be the one currently assigned to your home number, but obviously attaching it to your main SIM card makes things easier.
As soon as I landed in Japan, I was automatically connected to the KnowRoaming network which is partnered with a local Japanese telecom company. Setting up my data connection required a few extra steps but it was relatively easy to figure out with the instructions being on screen in the app.
Saving money is clearly the biggest advantage, making a call home to a Canadian mobile number cost me just 27¢ (Canadian) a minute, whereas if I used regular roaming rates, I would be charged $3 a minute. That’s a pretty significant savings. Each country has different rates so you do want to check the KnowRoaming website in advance to find out what you’ll be charged.
Data speeds are 3G which is slower than what I’m used to at home, but that’s still pretty fast. If you plan on using a lot of data, for $7.99USD you can purchase a 24-hour data plan which is more cost effective. You can’t avoid roaming charges completely, but this is a pretty good price point for voice and data.
I did experience some minor technical issues while travelling across Japan. On a few occasions I would lose my network connection which cut me off from my data and really messed with my cellular GPS. I suspect this had to do with cellular hand offs (when you go from one cell tower to the next) and probably had nothing to do with KnowRoaming. Usually a reboot of my cellphone fixed any problems, but KnowRoaming also has a 24-hour tech support line available.[icon name=”share” class=””] Related: How much does it cost to go to Japan?
Getting a local SIM will always be the cheapest option since you can get a local plan, but that means you won’t be able to take calls from your home phone number. Also, if you’re going to be travelling to multiple countries in one trip, a local SIM may not be compatible once you change countries. KnowRoaming is great since you can visit multiple countries and still get low rates.
In many Asian countries renting a pocket Wi-Fi is cheaper than KnowRoaming’s $7.99USD data plans but they’re only good for data. You won’t be able to make voice calls at the cheaper rate, nor will you be able to accept calls from your home number, so there’s definitely pros and cons to each option.
Sound quality of the service is excellent, I spoke to a few different people back home on the network and there was no loss in sound quality, nor were there any delays. Any unused credit or packages remain on your account, ready to be used on your next trip. KnowRoaming is a great choice for travellers who are looking for a single product that will allow them to make voice calls and have data access at a reasonable price.
Save 50% off KnowRoaming’s Global SIM Sticker & receive a free $5 credit using my KnowRoaming referral code BARRY18 at www.knowroaming.com